Lights out on smoking in prison

Christopher Gooding
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Lights out on smoking in prison

SPRINGHILL - Inmates at Springhill Institution were not in lockdown yesterday for rioting against an upcoming smoking ban, prison officials said.
A rumour began circulating in Springhill Wednesday, that the institution was in lockdown after inmates began to protest a federal smoking ban in the prison.
Deputy warden Deb Eason said the comments were an exaggeration.
"We had a power outage today," Eason said. "We weren't in lockdown. Prisoners had freedom of movement. It was nothing serious."
Staff at Springhill Institution, however, were using emergency power and lights to hold meetings and discuss how the federal smoking ban will impact the system. It's been no secret staff and inmates have been told the number of days left they can have a puff on institution property are numbered. A total smoking ban in Atlantic Canada's federal institutions takes effect May 20.
"Tonight is the last night we're selling inmates tobacco," Eason confirmed. "We've spent the day in a lot of meetings and making preparations."
Corrections Canada's major concern is the coping abilities of smokers being asked to kick the habit, Eason says. Preparations for the first smoke-free day at the institution have been ongoing but with the deadline closer than ever it is just a matter of time before staff will know how the ban will be embraced.
"We've got staff and inmates where the tensions are pretty high. They're valid feelings. Some people don't want to quit."
Springhill Institution staff are prepared for anything as the ban plays out, Eason said, and a variety of support networks and access to smoking cessation programs are available to both staff and inmates.

Organizations: Springhill Institution

Geographic location: Atlantic Canada

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Recent comments

  • Frank
    January 18, 2010 - 11:22

    With all criminal convictions should come a court award of monetary compensation to the victum . Both prosecutor and def should have input and the judge make the decision , these judgements should remain in effect until repaid period .No write of for any reason and no romouval of conviction in one's record until the restitution is settled . A victum should not have to have to take some lowlife to civil court to get an award of damages for crimes these ilk commit . Give them something to think about ,how to repay for what they have done, rather than where their next chemical high is coming from . IMO

  • Jason
    January 18, 2010 - 11:17

    I agree with Jay absolutly no privileges but I would go further...shackle them to the bed and taunt them and display them to the public. Dehumanize them as much as possible, that way when they are finally released to the public (and they will be released) they will know the rule of law and will be better citizens.

  • jay
    January 18, 2010 - 11:16

    Now if they would just take away the tv's and the weight rooms then things would be the way they should be.They shouldn't have any privelidges while they are doing 2/3 of there original sentence.Looks good on all ya's.HAHAHA

  • Jason
    January 18, 2010 - 11:12

    actually i don't adhere to any political divisions, I find it expedient for those who lack any insight to boil things down to a matter of right wing or left wing (conservative or liberal). In fact fellas or gals I'm not sure cause you don't use your own names, very brave I might add (and so totally Jack Layton!). I totally agree with the ban on smoking in prisons and I agree with Mr. Top Cop (likely APD moved elsewhere) that some lifers really do deserve life (not death cause that's not christian). My whole point is that the issue is much more nuanced than just saying everyone in prison is useless. What sort of a message are we sending? If your suggestion is that somehow stricter penalties for crimes creates safer neighborhoods then I suggest you look south and tell me who is safer?

    Anyway my point is that people are people and these convicts will be placed back into the same pool as us at some point and we have to live with what we produce. We will reap what we sow. So if you feel we need harsher penalties across the board for everything (I will agree that some crimes deserve harsher punishment) then you are wrong.

    If your looking for simple answers you will never get them.

  • Frank
    January 18, 2010 - 11:08

    A fine or sentenance is a penalty for breaking the particular law . In addition as part of the criminal trial i believe the court should award damages to the victum . The criminal event could have been an action against property or person or combination thereof,with restrictive appeal provisions on the monetary award . As it stands now most criminals only have to deal with fines and imprisinment . They essentially are not required to pay compensation to victums as victums do not want to go through the humilitation and expense of taking usless thugs to civil court . To do so only victumizes the harmed party a second time . I hope this clears it up for any confused people like Jason out there ,who i suspect would let the prisoners continue somking by giving them smoke breaks out on the street . As long as they promised to return when finished . LOL IMO

  • Top
    January 18, 2010 - 11:05

    Jason, you must be a liberal. First you say one thing than another. I happen to work in federal corrections and it is clear that you know very little about how our system works. Perhaps a little too many nights watching Jack Layton speak on TV!! As far as what Jay and Frank say there is some truth to that. Very few of the inmates have any remorse for their offences, probably less than 5%. The system we have now is the product of Pierre Trudeau's attempt to make it more like that of the european one, which is full of addicts who continue to be supported and fed drugs by a sympathetic public. As far as your death squad statement, trust me there are a good many lifers in the system that should have been put to death, however again Trudeau baled them out when he promised the public they would do life instead (which he later revealed after it passed in parliament would be a 25 year eligbility).

  • Jason
    January 18, 2010 - 11:03

    Its the system we have and you have no choice but to live with it and complain. Goodluck on your simplistic views.

  • Jason
    January 18, 2010 - 10:57

    Poor attempt at sarcasm on my part. I agree with you both Crystal and Cameron because attitudes and opinions like Jay from Amhersts only contributes to the problem. Dehumanizing someone in the name of Justice does no justice. Taking away smokes is only a minor thing but again the attitude that we are soft on crime is wrong. Its not a perfect system but its a balanced system.

  • Crystal
    January 18, 2010 - 10:56

    You're a little harsh there Jason. These prisoners are there for a reason, that's true, and they're serving their time. They're not all cold blooded murderers though. How exactly would dehumanizing them help them to be better law abiding citizens when they are released?

  • jay
    January 18, 2010 - 10:55

    To Jason W:Try pitching that crap to someones family who has been affected by those pilars of the community.Take away the smokes,weights and anything else they don't deserve!!!!

  • Jason
    January 18, 2010 - 10:55

    That has got to be the dumbest idea I have ever heard. All crimes should come with fines? Most crimes already do especially property related offences. I wish those who speak on such topics could differentiate between crimes against property and crimes against the person. I find no one draws the distinction. And the whole area of criminal law is much more complicated than a simple lock up and throw away the key attitude. Do some crimes deserve weighter punishment than others.... darn right they do but others? Also is the cost aspect, should we put all criminals away for life on our dime? For example, Theft under $5,000? (shoplifting a pair of socks). Imprisonment for 10 years, is that good enough for you Jay or will just cry foul when your taxes go up? I don't find Jay's or Frank's positions defensible or realistic for all crimes. In fact I find their comments ignorant and stupid. Look at the criminal code sometime and learn something.

    Also, Frank, with respect to addiction, I gather you know absolutely nothing. Maybe Frank we can fine addicts then when they don't (read unable to pay) we'll toss em jail again ON OUR DIME.

    And for a final bit of exasperation....if that doesn't work maybe Jay and Frank can head up some death squads and do away with those they deem unworthy.

    Attitudes like Jay and Franks makes enemies of us all and they are as bad if not worse than the people our system convicts.

  • jay
    January 18, 2010 - 10:45

    They might be serving their time, but most of them are not and will not serve enough!

  • e
    January 18, 2010 - 10:34

    seems to me that you guys haven,t spent any time there or your families. well, neither have i but if the shoe was on the other foot, i,ll bet it would be a different tune. i certainly don,t agree with the way things are done but then, we aren,t their judge, God is! just don,t be too quick to jump. and how many smokers would take kindly to having someone all at once taking your cigarettes away for good. get a wee bit uptight, eh?